The City of Watsonville’s Public Works & Utilities Department is the water service provider for 66,000 customers in the Pajaro Valley.  The City provides over 6 million gallons of safe, reliable drinking water to our customers each day. Careful management of our water resources helps ensure that we will have a long-term supply of high quality drinking water. We are committed to giving Watsonville residents the knowledge, tools, programs and resources necessary to save water.


  • In support of Governor Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency, the Watsonville City Council requested community participation in a voluntary 20% reduction in April of 2014.
  • While we are not faced with mandatory rationing, we are working to comply with the governors new water conservation mandates.
  • One indicator that our conservation efforts have been successful is that the City’s water use today is virtually the same as it was 15 years ago, despite a population increase of 30%.


  • The City offers a free Landscape Water Conservation Consultation to our customers, which provides technical assistance to reduce outdoor water use. We believe the next significant gains in water conservation will be achieved through our Landscape Water Conservation Program. For this reason, the City will continue to invest additional resources into this program as part of our drought response.
  • City parks and many local businesses have reduced irrigation by over 50% and are maintaining their water-wise landscapes within a water budget. These water savings were achieved through repairs, upgrades of broken irrigation equipment, reprogramming irrigation controls and smart landscaping choices.
  • Groundwater in our valley is being consumed more quickly than it is being replenished, resulting in saltwater intrusion to coastal wells. The Watsonville Water Recycling Project is working to protect our groundwater by treating wastewater and making it available to the $400 million local agricultural industry.

The Water Recycling Project is a joint effort of the City of Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency to provide recycled water to farmers throughout the coastal areas of South Santa Cruz and North Monterey counties. In addition the plant significantly reduces wastewater discharges into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

  • In 2013, the Water Recycle Plant produced nearly 1 billion gallons of recycled water for crop irrigation.


  • The City has been implementing a multi-faceted water conservation program for nearly 2 decades. This includes youth and adult programs, resident conservation tools and workshops, targeted customer outreach, and general and social media awareness campaigns.
  • The Public Works School Program and bilingual Public Works Adult Presentation Series have been a unique and critical component of our conservation program reaching over 52,000 youth and adult residents over the last 15 years.
    • This includes educational tours of our water and fairwaterconservationwastewater recycling facilities and water conservation presentations to adult community groups.
  • The City has increased online and social media water conservation outreach to meet the demands of the drought. With outdoor water use doubling in summer, outreach efforts include information that supports and encourages residents to carefully monitor outdoor summer water use, lawn management and other landscape water needs.
  • During the drought, staff implemented a new educational water conservation campaign through community programming and social media. This connects residents with the existing conservation programs, tools and resources available to them.


  • In July of 2014 the Governor issued new State Emergency Water Regulations, including a prohibition on water waste.
  • Our approach to water waste has been one of education and services to support conservation. We have found this approach to be more effective than enforcing violations for water wasters in our community.


  • The City built and sold bonds to finance the $30M Recycled Water Facility, which now provides up to 4,000 acre-feet of recycled water to our valley for agricultural irrigation.
  • We are looking for additional ways to maximize the use of this facility. Currently, we are partnering with PVWMA on grant funding and construction of additional storage tanks.
  • The City is engaged in the PVWMA’s Basin Management Planning effort, as well as Integrated Regional Water Planning with all of the other water agencies in Santa Cruz County.


Here are some useful water conservation links to learn more on how to save water:

Water Saving Tips – Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz County

Water Use It Wisely — 100+ Ways to Conserve Water

Water Calculator— Calculate how much water you use and where you can conserve.

Water Conservation Tips — Water saving opportunities in the home.

Water Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County — Drought tolerant design and alternatives to lawns